“In films murders are always very clean. I show how difficult it is and what a messy thing it is to kill a man.” - Alfred Hitchcock
Some find it disturbing that I spend time completing murder. Of fictional characters, yes, but the notion is still there. How can someone think of something so twisted? How can someone read books about asphyxiation or decapitation without despair? How can someone study pictures of human remains without grimacing? For me, it started as an unconscious attempt of immersion therapy.
Everyone is born dying. Some are just more aware of it than others. I’m prone to cancerous moles. I was practically born with one. I remember as a toddler going to the doctor to get a small mole on my thigh freeze off. It came back. Again. And again. By the time I was five it was about the size of a nickel and quite dark. The doctor said I needed surgery. Or it will kill me by the time I hit puberty. Went under. Came out. I was fine. But I had a scar that would grow to be two and a half inches long with an indent running the entire thing. The cancer was so deep they had to dig into my muscle. I was told that this was not a one off thing. It could come back. But as a young thing I didn’t understand the seriousness of the situation.
I was a precocious child. Desisting lizard eggs. Trying to convince mother that since marshmallows has less sugar than milk I should be able to eat them all the time. Figuring out how to rearrange furniture for maximum benefit faster than either my parents. But no matter how intelligent I was, death never seemed to bother me. It was an abstract idea that my concrete brain could not comprehend. It wasn’t till I was eight when it knocked me upside the head.
I was at my grandparents for the summer. We went to a funeral. A toddler died of brain cancer. We shared the same favorite chips, pizza flavored Pringles. Nothing flushes out the abstract like an example. For the next six years I would cry, scream and whimper if I came near a graveyard. I was able to force myself to go to a grownup friend’s funeral during that time. But guilt overrides every other emotion I felt that day, the last time I was with her I acted like a spoiled brat. And yet she still gave me a story book to say she was sorry about the confusion of going to a rollerblading rink instead of an ice skating one.
I was in the band from sixth to twelfth grade. I play the flute. And the high school I went to for my ninth year held a tradition on Veteran’s Day. We play at the local cemetery. On top of the graves. Not beside. I dreaded it. But I had no choice. I played. But kept my feet off the grass the best I could. And when I had to step upon the lush green, I walked around the plots. I knew that necrophobia was irrational. And I hate being irrational. So it was shortly after Veteran’s Day that I become fascinated about forensics.
To get over a phobia, one has to understand it. And so I did. Some might call me strange or morbid but…I rather be weird than illogical.